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Monday, April 10, 2017

Canada - amazing Niagara Falls

March 1991

Toronto was the first big city I visited back in 1991. Everything was so different from what I have seen until that date, that I really can't forget that trip.

The flight TP304 to Toronto, departed from Lisbon and had one stop in Montréal - Mirabel. I'm quite sure we stayed in the aircraft during the turnaround time. I also remember that it was the first time I travelled in Business Class. From TAP archives, the aircraft was the Airbus A310 with tail number CS-TEI. The A310 was still a very recent type in the fleet and it marked a new era in the history of the airline which evolved from a loyal Boeing customer (apart from the L-1011) to an all Airbus fleet.

Between Montreal and Toronto

From Toronto, I remember visiting the amazing CN Tower and having dinner in the revolving 360 Restaurant. I also recall seeing squirrels running free in the backyards of the houses and snowing for the first time, even if it was a very light snowfall.

Niagara Falls

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Niagara Falls. We experienced really cold temperatures but for sure it was worth it.
We also went up to the top of the Skylon Tower and enjoyed a wonderful view of the Falls from its observation deck.

Pearson Intl

Little me at the airport gate, admiring the TAP's Airbus, before our flight back to Lisboa:

Recently, TAP Portugal announced they will relaunch the route to Toronto this summer which got me really excited!

Friday, April 7, 2017

New York - 432 Park Avenue

April 2017

When I opened the curtains of my room and was surprised with this view...

40th floor - Times Square view

... one strong thought filled my mind: «yes, you cand send me to New York whenever you want»! Well, it is not always this view and not always this hotel... I was also thinking about the old question if I would ever be happy living in Manhattan. New York looks like a "yuge" amusement park. But I don't think anyone wants to live permanently in an amusement park. Anyway, it's nice to be pampered with such a view! And for visiting purposes I have no doubt that New York is my favorite city in the world.

432 Park Avenue

Since my layover in August 2015 that I was curious about this skyscraper and this time I wanted to see it from a closer point of view and take some photos.

Yuuuge, tremendous, the tallest residential building in the world!... what else can I say? That I couldn't resist and immediately bought a flat with a view even better than that one of the hotel? Later I'll share some photos of it!

Back to Times Square playground...

Times Square panorama

John dos Passos

It's always nice when you leave an amusement park flying a spaceship! It's an astronaut thing but I'm used to it. CS-TOT was the tail number.

Wing view at JFK Intl Airport

Please send me to New York again, right now!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Horta - approach with a view

March 2015

Two years ago I was in one of the very last flights to Horta, in Ilha do Faial/Açores. The runway of Aeroporto da Horta was the most critical in terms of length and everytime I went there I experienced a positive landing with strong deceleration! Beside that, one could also enjoy the beauty of Pico and Faial during the approach.

I'm a fan of the Azores since I first visited São Miguel, in 1990. For sure I was amazed with the opportunity of taking the following photos this last time.

Ilha do Pico

Unfortunately, the volcanic cone was hidden by this annoying layer of clouds...

Aeroporto do Pico

Ilha do Faial

Now, with Ilha do Faial on our right, we have Monte da Guia in sight.

One last look towards Ilha do Pico on our left, before passing Horta and turning to final approach.



Monte da Guia

Passing Horta

Right turn and finally we have the runway in sight, although it is barely noticeable in the photo below:

Final approach

Aeroporto da Horta

Another safe landing at Horta and time for some photos during our turnaround.

Airbus A319

Wingtip and the small terminal

Ground operations

Farewell with a reflection of CS-TTL

Unfortunately, many of our passengers were disappointed with the end of the flights of our airline to their island at the same time they showed great appreciation for us and for our service. But since these flights are regulated under Public Service Obligation contracts, we now have SATA operating this route and Pico as well.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Boston again... Charming city

December 2016

So this was my second time in Boston. But this time it was a longer layover and a better opportunity to explore more of the city.

Arriving at the end of the afternoon, we went for dinner in Dig Inn Restaurant at Boylston St. Although this is not the typical restaurant (you will probably have to share your table with strangers), the food concept is really interesting and worth a try.

The next day we took breakfast in Tatte Bakery at Beacon Hill District (I still prefer the Thinking Cup mentioned on the previous Boston post...) and started our tour with Trinity Church paying $7 for the admission.

Trinity Church

This impressive Church was built between 1872-77 and its windows feature a beautiful stained glass collection. The Church qualifies as a National Historic Landmark.

Definitely, this is a richly colored interior!

At the same time of our visit, a choir was practicing.

Our next stop was the Boston Public Library, just in front of Trinity Church.

Boston Public Library

The entrance is free but don't forget to keep silence!

A nice view of the Hancock skyscraper (240 m high):

And Trinity Church from the outside:

Then we proceeded to the Prudential Center. It was Christmas time so it had proper decoration.

Prudential Tower

The Skywalk Observatory gives you a unique opportunity to get a 360º view of Boston at a cost of $18 for adults - it's really worth it!

Take-off from Logan Airport

Hancock Tower and Trinity Church


Near Prudential Center you will also find an Apple Store for those who are fans of the brand.

At night we crossed the entire Boston Common and ended up having dinner in Fajitas & 'Ritas Restaurant which we really enjoyed.

Boston Common and its Christmas lights

On day three, I was alone and made my own tour, finding new places that I wanted to explore since my first layover in Boston and getting a more detailed view on repeated ones. My starting point was again at Boston Common with this view to the beautiful Massachusetts State House.

Then I took Winter and Summer Streets through the shopping district of Downtown Crossing.

Downtown Crossing


Plenty of that American feeling

I didn't buy anything actually... I was just enjoying the city. Keeping the same direction and after passing the impressive Federal Reserve Bank building I finally found a view to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

Boston Tea Party Ships

I was happy to get this photo but next time I really want to pay a visit to this museum and absorb more knowledge about this event that was part of the American Revolution that lead to its independence. I just didn't have time for everthing I still wanted to do this last day.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Long Wharf

I kept walking along Atlantic Avenue and I finally reached Long Wharf that I already knew from my previous time in Boston. But since I didn't have any pictures to share, this time I spent a few minutes taking some photos.

Quincy Market

And of course it was mandatory to explore again the iconic Quincy Market and the entire Faneuil Hall Marketplace...

Huuuuge Christmas tree

Quincy Market

Faneuil Hall

The other end of Quincy Market

Near the Faneuil Hall we can find Abercrombie & Fitch store and since a good sale was going on, I spent a few minutes looking for something that I liked.

Freedom Trail

Next thing I wanted to do, was to explore part of the famous Freedom Trail. I started at Faneuil Hall taking the Boston Common direction since I had to go back to the Hotel and get some rest before the flight back home.

Freedom Trail - Faneuil Hall

Curious detail: the trail is marked even on pedestrian crossings!


Old South Meeting House

Old City Hall

Another perspective...

And soon I reached again my starting point of the tour - the new State House.

Massachusetts State House

If I have another chance to visit Boston, my intention is to take the other Freedom Trail direction towards Charlestown neighbourhood.

Frog Pond

Then it was time to appreciate the sunset while crossing the Boston Common towards the hotel.

The frozen "Frog Pond" gives place to an ice skating rink during winter months!

Frog Pond

Central Public Park

While the last sunrays illuminated the park, I took the opportunity for a few more photos of this beautiful site.

Boston Common trees

Good things don't last forever and soon it was time to leave. Definitely, I'm in love with this charming city and I still have so much to see and to explore. But going back home is also a good thing. I agree that there's no place like home. Our "spaceship" assigned for the return flight was the Airbus A330 named after John dos Passos, an American novelist and artist, son of a wealthy lawyer of Portuguese descent.

Airbus A330-200 CS-TOT